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Shadow Catcher: How Edward S. Curtis Documented American Indian Dignity and Beauty
Shadow Catcher: How Edward S. Curtis Documented American Indian Dignity and Beauty
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Shadow Catcher: How Edward S. Curtis Documented American Indian Dignity and Beauty

At the turn of the 20th century, photographer Edward S. Curtis devoted his life to learning all he could about American Indians and sharing it with world. He took his first photo of an American Indian in 1895, and for the next 30 years he traveled the West and north to Alaska to chronicle traditional native culture. The result was a magnificent—and controversial—20-volume project, The North American Indian. While some scholars and American Indians found fault with the work Curtis published, many others greatly appreciated it. His grand endeavor was nearly forgotten when he died in 1952, but Curtis' rediscovered photographs are now recognized as treasures that will live forever.

Reading LevelGrades 5-7
Interest LevelGrades 5-9
Lexile Level1040L
ATOS Level7
AR Points1
AR Quiz #174529
Text TypeNarrative Nonfiction
PublisherCompass Point Books
Page Dimensions9 1/4" x 10 1/4"
Page Count64
BindingReinforced Library Binding
List Price: $37.32 School/Library Price

Additional Formats


Booklist - Kara Dean

"This latest entry in the Captured History series shifts its focus from the power of a single photograph to the influence of a body of work. Edward S. Curtis was a self-taught photographer invested in the idea of the “vanishing Indian.” His opus was The North American Indian, a 20-volume photographic project published between 1907 and 1930, based on years of living with tribes and chronicling their culture. Curtis was a practitioner of pictorialism, a technique of creating photos that look more like paintings than images of reality, which has been a source of controversy for modern scholars. Burgan fairly represents both sides of the debate, though it is clear he considers Curtis’ photographs to have done more good than harm. The book is clearly written, well researched (including source notes and an extensive bibliography), and uses many of Curtis’ photos, showing the scope of his work. Curtis said that he wanted his photographs to make Native Americans “live forever,” and this book puts forward the case that he succeeded." - Booklist

June 1, 2015

Booklist - Julia Smith

"Top 10 Continuing Series! The stunning books in this series view history through the lens of groundbreaking photographs, zooming in on iconic moments and then placing them in greater historical context. Look for series subsets in world history and sports, too." - Booklist

October 1, 2016


School Library Journal - Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC

"These latest additions in this series are every bit as excellent as their predecessors. . . .Both books feature well-written and accessible text, but it is the stunning photography that will keep readers entranced. Informative and downright gorgeous." - School Library Journal

April 1, 2015


California Reading Association

2015 Eureka! Gold Award

October 1, 2015

National Council for the Social Studies

2016 Carter G. Woodson Honor Book

September 1, 2016

Michael Burgan

Michael Burgan

Michael Burgan has written numerous books for children and young adults during his nearly 20 years as a freelance writer. Many of his books have focused on U.S. history, geography, and the lives of world leaders. Michael has won several awards for his writing, and his graphic novel version of the classic tale Frankenstein (Stone Arch Books) was a Junior Library Guild selection.  Michael graduated from the University of Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree in history. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with his cat, Callie.

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